Fiat has unveiled the new, fully-electric 500 hatchback, a model that has been designed from the ground up to be an electric model, the Italian company says. As such, this isn’t a replacement of the entire Fiat 500 line, but rather a new version that will be built in Mirafiori, Turin while the current, internal combustion Fiat 500 models will continue to be manufactured in Poland.

The new 500 has grown 60 mm in length and width compared with the current model to 3.63 m and 1.69 m respectively, while its wheelbase has also been stretched by 20 mm. Packaged within is a lithium-ion battery pack with 42 kWh of capacity, offering 320 km of range on the WLTP test cycle.

Charging can be done via an 85 kW AC fast charger which gives the 500 80% charge in 35 minutes, while a DC wallbox home charger is rated at up to 2.3 kW. An 11 kW DC Mode 3 charger is also available for the 500. With 118 hp on tap from its single electric motor, the new 500 goes from a standstill to 50 km/h in 3.1 seconds, and 0-100 km/h in nine seconds. Top speed is 150 km/h.

Standard kit for the 500 includes a 10.25-inch centre touchscreen, while the standard driver instrumentation on the Fiat 500 range is replaced here by a seven-inch digital display. The onboard Uconnect 5 multimedia system offers internet connectivity, and the multimedia system can also be accessed via smartphone.

A range of driver assistance systems are found here as well, including automatic emergency braking, blind spot monitoring, lane keeping assist and adaptive cruise control. The electric powertrain can be operated in three drive modes – Normal, Range and Sherpa.

The Sherpa mode is so-called as it significantly limits performance and accessory use of electricity in order to prolong battery range, “just like a Himalayan Sherpa”, who is in charge of the expedition and guides the journey to its destination.

This is achieved by limiting speed to 80 km/h, deactivating the climate control system and heated seats, though the driver has still has the choice of reactivating them at any time.

Available to order in European markets now, a ‘La Prima’ launch edition of the 500 is priced from €37,900 (RM175,845), and this will be limited to a run of 500 units. The limited-run variant comes equipped with LED headlights, eco-leather seats, 17-inch wheels and chrome exterior trim, and includes an Easy Wallbox that is developed by Engie EPS exclusively for Fiat Chrysler, and can charge at up to 3 kW and is upgradeable to 7.4 kW.

Fiat has also welcomed variations on the new 500’s aesthetics with one-off renditions by Giorgio Armani, Bvlgari and Kartell, each brand crafting their own take on the style that is eventually applied to the Fiat 500. Each of the three units, the 500 Giorgio Armani, the B.500 ‘Mai Troppo’ by Bvlgari and the 500 Kartell will be auctioned, and all proceeds will go to one of actor Leonardo Di Caprio’s environmental organisations, said Fiat.

The 2020 Fiat 500 technically isn’t the brand’s first electric 500 model, as Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has had a 500e on sale in the United States. Full production of this new model is due to begin in the second quarter of this year, and the Mirafiori plant is set to produce 80,000 units of the 500 annually, with further potential for expansion.